Presenting a Property to Let

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to let your property!  Whether it’s an investment property or your own home, it’s vital the property is presented in good order throughout. This will help to attract better quality tenants and maximise the potential rental income.  It’s important to remember that you won’t be living in the property, so try not to let your own personal tastes come into the decisions around decorating too much.

The first thing any potential tenant will see, is the outside of the property, so try and ensure that the exterior is in good decorative order, and looks fresh and clean, with any pathways, and driveways clear of weeds and rubbish free.  If there is a lawn, make sure it’s been cut, and any hedges are trimmed back and tidy.

Ideally, the property should be well decorated throughout. Neutral colours such as magnolia or cream are preferred by most tenants.  Floor coverings should be good quality and hard wearing.  Wear and tear needs to be considered when making these choices.  Kitchens and bathrooms should be of good quality, functional and well equipped. It’s generally expected that the following is provided:

Carpets & curtains in neutral colours

Light fittings complete with working bulbs

TV aerial

Telephone line

Kitchen appliances such as fridge, cooker and washing machine

Bathroom with shower attachment or shower unit

Shower rail & curtain or shower screen

Bathroom cabinet, towel rail, mirror and toilet roll holder

Dustbin

Instruction Booklets for all appliances

At least two sets of keys


It’s always helpful to supply an information pack to contain important information such as:

Dustbin collection day

Parking arrangements, identifying allocated garage/parking or visitors’ spaces

Location of meters

Any shared communal areas, ie, location of dustbins, or clothes drying area

Copies of any appliance warranties/service contracts

Utility, telephone and television service providers



We would also suggest that a property, including the windows and carpets, are professionally cleaned, prior to the commencement of a tenancy. The garden should also be left in good order and be well maintained. If a garage is available to use, this should be left cleared, ready for use and secure.

If letting a property on a furnished basis, the property should be uncluttered and personal items such as ornaments, books, etc, should be removed. All soft furnishings must also comply with safety regulations.

It’s expected that the following items are supplied:

Sofas

Dining table and chairs

Kitchen equipment

Iron & ironing board

Hoover

Beds

Bedside tables

Wardrobes (if not fitted)

Lawnmower

All electrical, plumbing, waste, central heating and hot water systems must be safe, sound, and in good working order.       

We can advise you further on the presentation of the property if required.


Legal Requirements & Health and Safety


Landlords Guide to Gas Safety Regulations 1998

As a landlord of a property equipped with gas appliances you need to understand and comply with the law relating to gas safety.

  • Under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 all gas appliances and flues in rented accommodation must be checked for safety within 12 months of being installed, and thereafter at least every 12 months by a competent engineer (e.g. a Gas Safe registered installer.
  • All gas appliances and associated pipe work and flues should be maintained to ensure they are safe to use and prevent risk of injury to any person.
  • Provide the tenant with a copy of the safety certificate before their tenancy commences or within 28 days of the checks being done.
  • All work carried out to gas fittings or any safety checks must be done by a suitably qualified installer, currently a Gas Safe registered installer.
  • Landlords must keep records for a period of two years from the date of each check and must make available upon request the original record or a copy of it.
  • Landlords must give every new tenant at the commencement of the tenancy a copy of the last available record of the safety check.
  • If the safety check is renewed during the period of the tenancy the Landlord must give every tenant a copy of the safety record within twenty-eight days of the safety check being due to be carried out.
  • Any room occupied for sleeping accommodation must not contain a gas fitting unless it is a room sealed appliance.
  • The Landlord should ensure that instructions are available at the premises for all gas appliances and fittings.
  • All gas appliances require adequate ventilation in order to ensure correct working and safety. The Landlord must ensure that adequate ventilation is provided at the property and that care has been taken not to block any ventilation duct.


The Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations)

The electrical supply and appliances within a property must be safe at all times. Appliances must be checked for defects (e.g. badly fitted plugs or frayed wires etc.). If an item is found to be unsafe then this should be removed from the property prior to offering it for rent. There is no statutory checking procedure, however, in order to comply with the regulations it is imperative that the Landlord has appropriate checks and safe guards carried out.  We strongly recommend that all landlords' have an annual inspection of electrical appliances including an electrical supply safety check, by a qualified electrician. Records of any checks should be retained and provided for inspection if required.

All the appliances supplied in a property after 1st January 1997 must be marked with the appropriate CE symbol.  All electrical appliances must be safe. This applies to items of both alternate and direct current which means the Landlord will have to ensure that such appliances as kettles, toasters, irons and television sets are safe as well as fixed appliances such as electric cookers and immersion heaters. Safety includes the lead.

Manufacturer’s instruction manuals should be provided for each appliance supplied at the premises. The instructions can either be shown on the appliance, or an instruction book can be supplied. This will help to ensure the safety of the tenant.

The Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (Consumer Protection Act 1987)

Any plug, socket or adapter supplied which is intended for domestic use, must comply with the appropriate current regulations.  All plugs must have a safety sheath, be fitted with the correct fuse and appropriately fitted and fixed to the appliance.

The Landlord also has a statutory duty to maintain the mains wiring to the property. It is recommended that the mains wiring is checked prior to the initial tenancy and again at least every five years in a domestic environment.

 The Electrical safety standards in the private rented sector regulations  came into force on 1st June 2020.

Click below for details:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector


A Landlords Guide to the Furniture & Furnishings (FIRE) Safety Regulations 1993

It is now an offence to install any furniture in let properties that do not comply with these regulations.

The regulations apply to

  • Headboards
  • Mattresses
  • Pillows and scatter cushions
  • Stretch or loose furniture covers
  • Children's furniture
  • Garden furniture suitable for use in the dwelling
  • Sofa-beds
  • Futons

and any other item with similar type fillings of which must carry the appropriate labels of compliance.

The Regulations concerning furniture in rented property have been tightened to apply to all accommodation available in the residential lettings market, as from 1st January 1997. Landlord’s letting residential property must ensure that all of their furniture is “fire resistant” to comply with the regulations, otherwise they will be committing a criminal offence. The penalty for this offence is a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

The regulations do not apply to

  • Antique furniture made before 1st January 1950
  • Bedclothes including duvets & pillowcases and loose covers for mattresses
  • Curtains
  • Carpets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Cushion covers

The recommended way to check whether furniture complies is to look for labels attached to the furniture. If there are no labels, you must try and establish when and where the furniture was bought and contact the retailer or manufacturer to check whether the item complies. If you are unable to establish where the furniture came from or its compliance, it must be replaced. It is illegal to let a property with furniture which does not comply with these regulations.


Legionella

Due to changes to the Approved Code of Practice regarding Legionella Control, it is required that all rental properties must have a Legionella Risk Assessment carried out. The relevant legislation can be viewed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/

 

Building Regulations Part P

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 puts the responsibility on the landlord to make sure that the electrical installation of their property is safe when a tenancy begins. From 1st January 2005, all domestic installation work must be carried out by a Government "Approved" Contractor. Electrical Contractors will also have to verify that the works complies with (BS7671). Failure to comply with these regulations is a criminal offence and could result in fines of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.

 

Smoke Alarms

The 1991 Building Regulations require that all properties built since June 1992 must be fitted with mains operated interlinked smoke detectors/alarms on each floor. A carbon monoxide detector should also be supplied.  Such regulations regarding older properties do not exist but we strongly recommend that smoke alarms are fitted in all let properties and are regularly checked to ensure they are in full working order.

 

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)

In December 2006, amendments to the above act came in to effect giving a disabled person the right to ask a landlord for reasonable adjustments to a property to enable him to enjoy the property and its features as an able-bodied person could. Such modifications are temporary and at the end of the tenancy can be reinstated. Any alterations and changes to the property will be at cost to the landlord.

 

Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a new risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties in England and Wales. The new assessment method focuses on the hazards that are most likely to be present in housing. The HHSRS assesses 29 categories of housing hazards, each hazard has a weighting which will help determine whether the property is rated as having Category 1 (serious) or Category 2 (other). Tackling these hazards will make more homes healthier and safer to live in. Landlords are advised to assess their property to determine whether there are serious hazards that may cause a health or safety risk to tenants. They should then carry out improvements to reduce the risks.

 

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)

From October 2008 EPCs will be required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The certificate provides 'A' to 'G' ratings for the building, with 'A' being the most energy efficient and 'G' being the least, with the average up to now being 'D'.

The certificate includes recommendations on ways to improve the home's energy efficiency to save money and is valid for 10 years.

EPCs will only be required for properties which are having a change of tenant, not for existing tenants or for extensions of an existing tenancy agreement. The EPC must be made available for viewing by any prospective tenant at the point of viewing or enquiring about the property.

 

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The Tenants Deposit Scheme (TDS) government legislation came into effect in April 2007. All deposits taken for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy after that date must be covered by the scheme. The scheme is designed to encourage landlords and tenants to make a clear agreement at the start of the tenancy on the contents and condition of the property.

There are two types of tenancy deposit protection scheme available for landlords and letting agents (insurance-based schemes and custodial schemes). All schemes provide a free dispute resolution service.

 

Assured Shorthold Tenancies

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy is the default tenancy for most dwellings in England and Wales. It is a form of Assured tenancy with limited security of tenure, and an important class of residential tenancy in England and Wales. It was introduced by the Housing Act 1988.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are normally arranged for a six month period, but can be agreed for a longer period, e.g. twelve months. This type of tenancy allows the tenant to remain in the property for the first six months, or initial fixed period.

An Assured Shorthold Tenancy entitles the landlord to a possession order immediately after the initial agreed period, which is usually for six months. The landlord is therefore able to evict the tenant after the initial fixed term without a legal reason. If this is the case and the landlord does not wish to renew the tenancy then they are obliged to give at least two months notice to end the tenancy.

However, if both the tenant and landlord are happy with the agreement another tenancy can be agreed, for a new fixed period.

An AST is suitable when:

  • The tenant is an individual as opposed to a company
  • The dwelling is the tenants main/principal home
  • The dwelling must be let as separate accommodation
  • There are a number of important exclusions (e.g tenancies that cannot be assured or assured shorthold), generally known as "Common Law" or "Contractual Tenancies, which include:
  • Lettings to companies
  • Holiday lettings
  • Tenancies granted by a resident landlord (A landlord living in the same property as the tenant)
  • Lettings at no rent, low rent or high rent (Over £25,000 per annum)
  • Being let with more than two acres of agricultural land or an agricultural tenancy
  • Tenancies entered into before 15th January 1989, or a tenancy that was previously a protected tenancy
  • Owned by the Crown or a government department

 

Contractual Tenancies

Contractual Tenancies run indefinitely from one period to the next. With this type of tenancy, you can seek possession at any time under any of the grounds for possession. A Contractual Tenancy Agreement may be used when:

  • The annual rent of a property exceeds £25,000 or more
  • Where the premises being let is self-contained accommodation in a property that has been converted from a single property to multiple units (e.g. where a house has been converted in to flats), where the landlord lives
  • Where the property is not the tenants principal home

 

Other considerations

Utility Services

Ensure that all available utilities are connected to the property including, telephone line, gas, water and electricity. Where provided, check any LPG/OIL tanks are in working condition and full and that any septic tanks attached to the property are emptied.

Do you have a mortgage on the property?

If you have a mortgage on the property that you intend to let then you will need written permission from your mortgage lender. Depending on who your lender is will determine whether they want to include extra clauses within the tenancy agreement.

Is your property held on a Lease?

If you are the leaseholder of the property, you will need to check the terms of the lease prior to letting to obtain any necessary permissions.

Insurance

You should advise the insurance company that you are letting out the property and you should make sure that you have adequate insurance cover for buildings, content and public liability in place. Failure to notify your insurer may invalidate your policies. If you need further advice on Landlords Legal Protection, Rent Guarantee Cover or Contents and Building Insurance, please ask.

 The Cost of Letting Your Property

While your thoughts maybe leaning towards how much you can get by letting your property, you must consider and budget for any costs that could arise, for example:

  • Monthly mortgage payments due on the property
  • Expenses for bringing the property up to the required standards, physically and in terms of safety
  • Solicitors fees
  • Letting agent and management fees
  • Insurance fees
  • Contingency budget for ad hoc maintenance and repairs

Post

If you are renting out a property where you no longer live (e.g.: you are moving and want to let the property) then you will need to arrange to have your mail re-directed to your new address.

Income Tax

It you are currently residing in the UK, it is your responsibility to inform Revenue and Customs of any rental that you receive and to pay any taxes due.

Further Information

 Should you require further information regarding the Gas, Electric or Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations we recommend you approach:

  • The Lettings Agent
  • Trading Standards Office
  • Environment Health Office
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • The Gas Safety action line which can be contacted on 0800 300 363


Obtain a copy of the Guide to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations published by the department of trade and industry.

The above guides are intended to provide a summary of the regulations to the landlord it is not an authoritative interpretation of the regulations, which is a matter for the courts.

 

This website uses cookies. We use cookies to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.
You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Read our cookie policy. I understand